Delicious Cowboy Cricket Pancakes

Pancakes to Chirp About

Cricket Pancake-36

All photos courtesy of Melissa Ergo Photography

Earlier this year I decided that I wanted to incorporate a more sustainable source of protein in my life. Through a few podcasts, I heard about people eating insects – mainly crickets – because of the many benefits to our bodies and the environment. I started searching the internet for a company using insect protein in order to try it out. After all, if it was something that made me gag, that wouldn’t work. In a short time, I came across Cowboy Crickets, a company out of Montana. Cowboy Crickets Family PhotoThe site mentioned how they had just started and that owners Kathleen and James were both Coast Guard Vets      ( James is still serving as a medical in the Montana National Guard).  After some introductions and negotiating, Cowboy Crickets decided to sponsor me!

 

Why Pancakes?

I wanted to find creative ways and different options for using the cricket protein powder. But before we go any further, let’s clear this up:

It’s powder. No legs and heads sticking out. Just powder. We cool?

Cricket Pancakes-14

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course, I could simply dump it into my Simple Green Smoothie or a bowl of yogurt, but I wanted more. Also, I was having pancake nostalgia. Yearning for a simpler time where I ate pancakes for breakfast as a chubby kid, long before my born-again conversion to a Paleo-ish diet. The following recipe took a few tries to come together and was adapted from the Almond Flour pancakes from Wellness Mama. But this one has ground cricket powder, so it’s a next-level way to #GetYourChirpOn.

 

Cricket Powder Pancake Recipe

Cricket Pancakes-9

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of almond flour
  • 1/4 cup of Cowboy Crickets Protein PowderCricket Pancakes-10
  • 1/4 cup of Flax Meal or flax seeds
  • 1-2 TBSP of Chia Seeds
  • 1/4 cup of Goji Berries
  • 2 eggs (bonus points for pasture-raised)
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/4 TSP salt
  • 1 TBSP of stevia, Birch Xylitol, or honey
  • Coconut flakes
  • Grass-fed butter
  • Fistfuls of Berries

Best Music Pairings:

*Feel Me Flow – Naughty By Nature

*1,000 Miles – Vanessa Carlton (My daughter’s favorite)

*Flying Horses – Dispatch

 

Directions:

  1. Start the music
  2. Heat a pan to medium and add a bit of avocado oil, coconut oil, or ghee
  3. Mix the Almond Flour, Cricket Powder, Flax Meal, Chia Seeds, Goji Berries, Eggs, Salt, Water and sweetener into a bowl.Cricket Pancakes-17
  4. Whisk until it’s all blended (Let your Three-Year-Old whisk – she’ll do a better job).Cricket Pancakes-19
  5. Fill the 1/4 cup scoop and dump a few onto the pan (the 1/4 scoop seems like the ideal size)Cricket Pancakes-24
  6. Flip when the bottom feels solid enough -should be golden to medium brown.Cricket Pancakes-28
  7. Remove when the other side is doneCricket Pancakes-29
  8. Add a couple hunks of butter and a fistful of berriesCricket Pancakes-31
  9. Sprinkle some coconut flakesCricket Pancakes-33
  10. Enjoy!Cricket Pancakes-44

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To get your own Cowboy Cricket Protein Powder use promo code “MIKEWINS” to save 20%. Not only will you be supporting a great veteran-owned business, but your purchases help me to continue bringing you great posts.

All photos courtesy of Melissa Ergo Photography

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Ironman Training- Month 4

This is the fourth installment of a yearlong training journey towards my first full Ironman triathlon. To start at the beginning, click here.

 

Ironman Training Month 4

November started off in a powerful way. My son was born on November 3rd, healthy and well. After the hospital stay, my wife and I brought him home and began the juggling act of raising two kids. Needless to say, there was not much training for the first week after his birth. I did my best to prepare food, run errands, and wrangle my three-year-old daughter. I spent lots of time at the park so my wife could rest and attend to the newborn. In the first two weeks I snuck in a couple bike rides and swim, but with minimal sleep, rest and recovery were priority number one. Some days, keeping my eyes open just to push my daughter on the swing was a major victory.

Seeing my newborn son for the first time in the hospital. He is grabbing my finger.

By Thanksgiving, I was back to swimming, biking, and running per the training plan laid out by Coach Nick Carling. I ran my MAF test in just over 30 minutes with 9:56, 9:58, and 10:18 splits. Relief set in that my fitness had not totally disappeared and I had even improved from last month’s MAF test.

 

Brace Yourselves, Winter is Coming

With winter approaching and Daylight savings time shortening the hours of sunlight, I sweated out most rides on the indoor trainer. One challenge I faced was being able to “let go” and accept that I would not complete all of my prescribed training sessions. At the same time, I made sure not to swing to the other end of the spectrum and justify sitting around when I had the time to train and ample sleep the night before. So goes the balancing act of parenthood and Ironman training. Since I work 10 hour days, I plan ahead to make sure my workouts fit into the day. To streamline my mornings I usually lay out workout clothes and gear the night before.

 

Even though I could not put in the training hours, my daughter was a big help with nutrition. She is at the age where she wants to help out, so I recruited her to help make my green smoothies.

 

Making a green smoothie with my daughter during Ironman Training- Month 4

My daughter loves to help make healthy smoothies.

 

My favorite swim was a Thanksgiving Day workout with the Walnut Creek Masters. We had the options of what we chose to “eat” on the menu, choosing different sets of freestyle and non-freestyle strokes. All said and done, it totaled about 4,200 meters.

My two kids in their Thanksgiving outfits.

 

The Big Picture

Whenever I felt frustrated by the setbacks or stalls in fitness and training, I reminded myself of the bigger picture: I train and race to improve myself as a person and triathlon is only part of that equation. It’s easy for me to get this confused and expect the rest of my life to conveniently fit around my training. Frustration and resentment build when people and events don’t align with my triathlon life, so the reality check and shift in perspective keeps me grounded. I think a lot of age-groupers feel this from time to time, expecting the results that the professionals get, forgetting the pros don’t have a full-time day job or other serious commitments outside of sport. And like all endurance races, it is a journey of consistent effort and not a sprint.

 

Upwards and onwards.

 

 

<— Back to Month 3

Forward to Month 5  —>

 

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The Easiest Green Smoothie You’ll Ever Make

Ingredients for a green smoothie

Why Green Smoothies?

In order to support a heavy training load, I consume an abundance of vegetables. Preparing and eating this many vegetables is time-consuming, and I strive to streamline my days so I can fit in training, work, and family time. Blending vegetables in a  green smoothie is a great way to save time and get in the nutrients that our bodies crave. Many different recipes call for precise measurements and a lot of specific ingredients I never seem to have at the same time.

 

How many times have you given up on a recipe because you lacked one or two ingredients?

I don’t know about you, but the answer for me is way too many times. Sometimes I take care to cook a recipe following the directions in order to produce a great meal. But on a regular basis I want to make things easy to do so the odds increase that I will actually do them. That’s why I make my smoothies based on whatever is in the fridge. I usually make my smoothies like this:

The Steps to make an Easy Green Smoothie

  1. Take a leafy green (kale, collard green, chard, spinach). Wash them and chop (or rip)  into small pieces and put it in the blender.Washing leafy greens and carrots for a green smoothie.
  2. Add ice, a little water, the juice of a lemon, and blend. Using a few squirts of lemon juice concentrate will do the job, but won’t taste as fresh.Blender with leafy greens and lemon juice for a green smoothie.
  3. Cut up the avocado, fruits & vegetables and dump them in. The avocado will emulsify the smoothie so it is thicker and stays together. It is also a great source of fat and will keep you full. Common fruits & vegetables I use are carrots, cucumbers, berries, apples, pears, and melon. Aim to use only one or two fruits to keep the sugar content low. Green smoothies are about packing in the vegetables without spiking your insulin.Sliced vegetables on a cutting board for a green smoothie
  4. Give your dog a carrot slice. He’s hoping you will-  look at  him.
  5. Add any roots, seeds, herbs, probiotics, adaptogens and spices. Some won’t work well together, but the avocado, lemon and berries go a long way to mask other flavors. I usually throw in ginger, turmeric, kefir, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and maca root. Occasionally I add some almond butter, but it’s easy to go overboard with nut butters. If you’re feeling masochistic daring, throw in a clove or two of garlic. Again, it will be masked by the other ingredients in your green smoothie.
  6. Blend together and taste. Too thick? Add some water. Not thick enough? Toss in another avocado. If you are new to blending vegetables or eat a lot of sweets, expect it to taste a little bland. Avoid the temptation to throw too much fruit in there, your taste buds will adapt eventually.Blended green smoothie in a glass.
  7. Store in the fridge for a week or so. I go through jars of peanut butter and almond butter on a regular basis. A few months ago I started washing them out to reuse them and found they are the perfect size to store enough green smoothie for a day’s worth.Blended green smoothie stored in used peanut butter jars.

 

Keep it simple

Like I mentioned earlier, the end result won’t always be amazing. Sometimes it will be a bust, but it won’t take long before you develop a knack for what works well together and in what proportions. I’ve tried a few different things at times that haven’t worked like pureed pumpkin, broccoli, and cauliflower. I’m sure you’ll also stumble across a few things that don’t work along the way.

 

The point is this: eating healthy does not need to be overly complicated. Small, simple, everyday things add up and are sustainable for the long term. Think of these as utility meals – nothing fancy, but serving a purpose. The blast of nutrients you are drinking is a quick and easy way to get your body what it needs.

 

Remember, every sip is a victory.

 

 

What do you put in your green smoothies that works?

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